The theme of the 13th Annual Toast of the Vineyard is “A Midsummer Masquerade Party.”
It supports an organization that helps abused children to tell their story and to heal.
Harmony House is a safe, neutral place for children who have been victims of sexual or physical abuse, neglect, endangerment, even human trafficking.
It’s a place where they can tell their story guided by a trained forensic interviewer, and that story is recorded with audio and video.
“So the child won’t have to have repeated interviews by school counselors, therapists, mental health professionals, law enforcement, medical personnel and then by someone who could actually testify in court,” said Debra Hawkins, executive director.
She said the child has an advocate with them throughout the entire process.
They can recommend other services if needed, such as a doctor or mental health professional.
They work with law enforcement, even the FBI.
Despite their years of work, their caseload is on the rise.
“We have about a ten percent rise in referrals we are receiving now,” noted Hawkins. “And we attribute that–not to more abuse happening–but because people know that we exist.”
They say their children are survivors, not victims.
And they now have a voice and hope.
Harmony House has locations in Wheeling and Belmont County,
Toast of the Vineyard is August 4, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at River City Restaurant.
Costumes are suggested, but if you choose not to wear a costume, masks are available at the event.
Tickets are still available.
For information, you can call (304) 230-2205.